This reporter read the book “Chaser: Unlocking the Genius of the Dog Who Knows a Thousand Words” in preparation for his interview with its Author Dr John W. Pilley for an upcoming episode of Max A Pooch’s Awesome Animal Advocates on Pet Life Radio. The episode of Max A Pooch's Awesome Animal Advocates will air January 13, 2014.
Dog lovers had much to thank Dr. John Pilley when he published his study of canine memory and cognitive capabilities which surpasses the results of previous scientific studies. Now there is science to back up to what dog owners have known all along; the loyalty of dogs to their human companions is based on thinking beings who understand much of what we say and do.
Pilley, assisted by Hillary Hinzmann, was able to bring to the public in "Chaser" a nifty mix of anecdotes about a dog and her humans, training tactics that anyone can follow, and scientific research that rocked the scientific community off its feet by proving what dog owners have known all along; dogs are much more intelligent than the scientific community has given them credit. .
According to Dr. Pilley “Chaser knows much more than the names of one thousand toys, she knows common nouns, and even understands sentences with multiple fundamentals of grammar. She can even learn new activities through imitation.”
As astounding as Chaser the Border Collie's accomplishments are, those accomplishments of Dr Pilley who is emeritus psychology professor at Wofford College are equally impressive . This mild mannered educator’s findings based on his research builds upon the previous work large, sophisticated institutions such as the internationally renowned Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Germany have done.
Thanks to the Internet Pilley's research spread rapidly from a paper published in a scientific journal to the popular media. Now Chaser the Border Collie has appeared on many television talk shows demonstrating her amazing abilities to TV audiences. While the writer finds Chaser a truly amazing dog, he believes the work Pilley has done with Chaser has far reaching ramifications that the popular press and entertainment media have overlooked.
This writer believes the long ranging and important impacts of Pilley’s work will cause society and culture to change attitudes and legislation about dogs and how they are treated. No longer will legislation exist that is based on the the perception that dogs are mindless meat-eating machines whose loyalty to humans is based on a " free lunch." The argument to stop the euthanizing of an estimated 5500 dogs a day is stronger thanks to Pilley's work. In addition the gassing of dogs by many animal shelters throughout the United States will be seen by the public as so horrific it will be stopped.
It is hard to imagine that as Pilley's work becomes better known by the general population that the tolerance for the horrific conditions dogs are subjected to at puppy mills will continue. The same is true regarding the acceptance of so-called research laboratories whose inhumane research activities as well as practices such as devocalizing dogs so the staff won't be bothered by their howls, barks and whimper will be tolerated. Also, penalties for those found guilty of abusing dog fighting and other cruel and barbaric acts against dogs will become stronger.
Pilley was able to keep the book from becoming dry by capturing Chaser for who she is, an intelligent member of his family. By telling her story he also provides a lot of common sense lessons of what to do and how to bring a dog into the family, help it adjust, and keep it both physically and mentally active.
When asked about how he was able to keep the brilliant and highly energetic Chaser interested interested in performing the complex tasks and routines that are required needed to gather data to support his jolting research , Pilley responded. “Keep it fun.” Explaining, “I kept it fun for Chaser.Keeping training sessions fun for your dog is an important key to training success.”
One word of advice Dr. Pilley had when questioned about bringing a breed such as a border collie into the family. He warned, "They're not for everyone. Their high energy and intelligence means you must be ready to commit to taking care of their mental and high energy needs. Otherwise, you and your border collie will be headed for trouble."
That's good advice Max A Pooch the recycled (rescue) dog who recycles completely agrees. In fact he believes this is true regarding for whatever breed or mixed breed of dog that is brought into a home. Do research, meet the dog, bring it home because you believe you can provide it what it needs in terms of mental stimulation, physical activity, and companionship, not just because you think it is cute.
Max A Pooch gives "Chaser Unlocking the Genius of the Dog who Knows A Thousand Words," 260 pages, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 260 Pages $15.29 five big tail wagging woofs and suggests if there is a dog lover in your life this book will make a great gift.
This is an important book in the growing literature body of literature that proves that as Dr. Pilley says, "Dogs are much more intelligent than people think." If you are an animal advocate who is advocating for legislation to improve conditions or save the lives of dogs...this book should be sent to the local, state or Federal legislators involved who will vote on the legislation.